Fearing what others would think

Nebraska,  United States
My story really begins in 2003, months after my daughter was born. My ex-husband and I were having a lot of arguments, mostly regarding his difficulties finding and keeping employment while I was nursing our Infant daughter. During one such argument, I said something to/about him that I shouldn't have, and after a chase downstairs to our basement bedroom (we were staying with my parents at the time), he reached around the door and dug his fingernails Into my arm. That day, he walked out of our lives and I got a protection order against him.

Conditions for restoration of our marriage, from both my perspective and that of the judge who presided over the ex-parte hearing, would be for him to use the 1-year protection order period get a job, car, and a place to bring home his family. Before the year of the protection order was up, however, he had communicated through emails with my dad that he wanted me to "go ahead and file" for divorce. I learned afterwards that he had already gotten another woman pregnant - while we were still married. As soon as the divorce was final and the 6-month waiting period was over, he married her.

I don't know when, exactly, but eventually my ex's second wife divorced him for similar reasons.

Meanwhile, I was working on making my return to a local community college to finally get a degree so that I could find better jobs than what otherwise was available to me with no more than a high school diploma and a few job skills. I thought my life was finally turning around, that I was finally headed in the right direction. I also was working with my doctor to set up a long-awaited and much-needed breast reduction surgery, the timing of which hinged on finally weaning my daughter. (I am a believer in breast-feeding and had intended to continue until she was three years old. I made it to about 2.75 years because I was eager to have the surgery.)

Occasionally I would talk candidly about hoping to someday (hoping It would be sooner rather than later) remarry and have more children. However, because I was on state/federal assistance programs, my mother often would make comments to me like, "you can barely take care of one child... what makes you think you can handle more?"

Around Thanksgiving break in 2005, I found out my ex was back in town and wanted to see me. During the course of our visits, I made it known to him how I'd missed him,  that I hadn't been with anybody since I last was with him. Old feelings die hard, and our feelings for each other were no exception. I don't need to tell you what happened, save that the contraception we'd used was expired, unbeknownst to me at the time. After the holidays, he left town again to return to where he was living at the time, and I went back to school.

I found out not long thereafter that he had yet another child on the way, meaning that there was no real possibility for reconciliation. I later learned that the mother was 17 at the time.

At some point I began noticing colostrum excretions and was puzzled but figured it had to do with having weaned my daughter. I received the OK from my doctor and Medicaid for the breast reduction surgery; I was thrilled that it was finally going to happen. When I realized I had missed a period, then it clicked and I began to get scared. One day while I was on campus getting things ready to start the next term, the sciatica I had during pregnancy flared up again. I immediately thought of how physically hard It would be for me attending classes, walking all over campus, while pregnant and suffering sciatica. I figured I would have to drop out of school yet again, and that was one of the last things I wanted because my hopes and dreams for my daughter and myself relied on my ability to get that degree and get a better job to support us.

I knew I could not talk about it with my parents. They would not understand the fact that I had become physically intimate with my ex again, and likely would have condemned me for it because it would be considered extra-marital sex due to the finalized divorce.  I also feared what the other members of my church would think.

I found a few close friends with whom I felt comfortable discussing my predicament. For the most part, every ear was supportive of the Idea of me getting an abortion because they felt that my circumstances largely gave me justification to do so. I had just started going back to college to improve my life. I physically could not handle going to school while pregnant. I was going to finally get a breast reduction. I had parents who not only would not understand but would condemn. I kept hearing my mother's words, telling me that I couldn't handle more than the child I already had. I presumed I would also be condemned by others in my church. And I didn't want yet another tie to my ex which could be more damaging to my child(ren) than the complete lack of him In our lives.

I was scared and knew the dangers of abortion. I hated the thought of it. I hated thinking that they'd either saline burn my unborn to death or rip It apart via D&E method. When I found out the gestational age was just under 9 weeks and therefore allowed me the option to use the "medical" abortion method (Mifepristone, a.k.a. RU-486) Instead, I was somewhat relieved and comforted. I figured that a medical abortion would be less Invasive and dangerous to me as well as a less painful way to die.

I was not allowed to see the ultrasound Images, and due to the early stage of the pregnancy, they could not tell me whether it was a boy or a girl. But I had already made up my mind. I paid $375 (discounted due to my low Income level) for the two drugs Involved. (I kept the receipt in my wallet for years In case I ever wanted or needed a reminder of the date or the financial price I paid.) I took the oral pill in the doctor's presence because they apparently needed me to do that to know I was committed to the process. I took home with me the pill which was to be inserted vaginally as well as prescriptions for an anti-nausea medication and Vicodin.

I knew what I was doing was wrong before I did It, but I felt that my circumstances left me no other options. The fact that the gestational age was so young gave me comfort In that nobody but those close to me who knew already and those I eventually might choose to tell In the future would ever know of my secret. I wouldn't be judged for something by somebody who didn't know about it. It would be my own private hell on earth, and only those who knew about it could comfort me when I needed it.

One thing I did to give myself a private, Internal healing of sorts was to decide on a name for the baby I never knew. Not knowing whether it had been a boy or a girl, I deliberately searched for names which could be used by either gender. I used the meanings of each name to finally decide on Mallory Zane, meaning Unfortunate Gift of God.

Over the years, I have come to regret my decision even more. My daughter, being an only child, was lonely and longed for the companionship of siblings. She even made up Imaginary brothers and sisters.

I am now, at the time of this writing, 35 years old and have yet to have found the "right" man to take the place in our lives that would have been filled by my ex if we had not divorced; hence I have had no more pregnancies. I know that this is the age at which chances of serious birth defects and miscarriages begin to Increase. I also have been told it would be "wrong" of me to bring a child into this world at such an advanced age because no kid would want to have such an old mom. I don't know If I will ever find the "right" man nor how long It will take If It Is to ever happen, but I do still hope that one day I might have another little one In my arms, smelling of breast milk and smiling up Into my face.

Priests for Life